F-35 Secrets in China’s J-20?

Plus, North Korea may be in the clear in Libya, NATO’s plans for nuclear bomb integration, and more.

Ankit Panda
F-35 Secrets in China’s J-20?
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A few curated defense, security, and geopolitics link to kick off the weekend:

A report by Bill Gertz in the Washington Free Beacon highlights the fruits of Chinese cyber espionage on the United States’ F-35 Lightning II. According to Gertz’s report, several features of the F-35 have begun showing up on the latest prototype of China’s J-20 stealth fighter. Take a look for yourself, but even with a perfunctory glance at the two aircraft’s exteriors, the similarities are apparent. U.S. intelligence agencies know that Chinese conducted major industrial espionage in 2007 and it is likely that F-35 research and development was hit.

Contrary to earlier reports, the North Korea-flagged oil tanker that sneaked away from Libya with illegally acquired oil, the Morning Glory, does not belong to the DPRK. A statement by North Korea’s Maritime Administration on KCNA said that the ship “has nothing to do with the DPRK at present and it has no responsibility whatsoever as regards the ship.” The DPRK alleges that the ship is in fact controlled by Egypt-based Golden Logistics Company and was allowed to use the North Korean flag for a period of six months as per a contract. “The DPRK formally notified the Libyan government and the International Maritime Organization that it cancelled and deleted the ship’s DPRK registry and invalidated all the certificates,” North Korea’s Maritime Administration added in its statement. An investigation by NK News finds that the North Korean account of events largely checks out. The Egyptian shipping company that operated the Morning Glory is known to use “flags of convenience” when operating in international waters to identify itself.

A post on the Federation of American Scientists’ FAS Strategic Security Blog sheds some light on NATO’s nuclear bomb integration timeline for its aircraft. The B61-12 integration for NATO F-16 and Tornados will begin in 2015 and will likely be completed around 2017-2018. The author notes that the “integration of U.S. nuclear weapons onto aircraft of non-nuclear weapon states that have signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and promised ‘not to receive the transfer from any transferor whatsoever of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or of control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly,’ is, to say the least, problematic.”

According to the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Pakistan is slated to upgrade its C-130 fleet. The upgrades will involve avionics, engine management, mechanical upgrades, cargo delivery systems, and outer wing replacements.

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A Christian Science Monitor commentary takes a look at Russia’s use of cyberweapons against the Ukrainian government.

And finally, another plug for our new Flashpoints podcast where Zachary Keck and yours truly discuss Flight MH370 and the geopolitics of Afghanistan.